Lessons from the Field: Interview with John Pearson

This post is part of the The Teachers Certification Map’s “lessons from the field”, a series of posts featuring passionate, inspiring educators from across the country discussing some of the lessons that they have learned over the years that would help young teachers as they embark on their careers.

John Pearson, previously a design engineer, is a 3rd grade teacher in Dallas, Texas, blogger at Learn Me Good, and author of a book with the same name. John has been teaching for 6 years. Up through 2008, John taught English As a Second Language and Gen Ed kids math and science. However, as of this October, John teaches at dual-language program where students learn in Spanish for half the day and English for the other half. John is the English teacher, and teaches both math and English Language Arts.

We interviewed John about his motives, methods, inspiration and educational background. Below are his answers to our questions:

Q: What inspired you to teach?

A: I always enjoyed school, I had some very good teachers, and I like working with kids. It’s certainly more frustrating AND rewarding than engineering ever was.

Q: What classroom methods are most helpful in pushing students towards their goals?

A: I find that my kids often forget things that they had “mastered” only a few weeks before, so I try to constantly review and keep important things fresh in their minds. Finding many different ways to show concepts is also beneficial. Also, though it’s not always (or sometimes even often) possible, anything that can make learning more “fun” is a plus.

Q: What is the one thing you wish you’d known when you started in the classroom?

A: Not to sound too cynical, but I had no idea it would be such an upward struggle. Maybe it’s not like that everywhere, but where I teach, it’s a constant battle with the kids AND often parents to get anything meaningful done.

Q: Do you have a Masters of Education?

A: No, I have a Masters of Materials Science, but not education.

Q: What skills could more developed if you were to enroll in a teacher-training program? What would you like to improve about your teaching?

A: One skill that is hardly touched on in teacher training programs but which plays a HUGE part of everyday life is discipline and classroom management. These are skills that we usually have to develop on our own, but they are critical to a successful school year. As for my own teaching, I would love to improve my small group skills. I am a very good whole-group teacher, but keeping some kids busy while I work with small groups is a skill that I have yet to master.

Do you know someone with great insights to share with young teachers, or do you want to be considered for an interview? If so, please email us at hello@certificationmap.com.

This is a guest post from our journalist Alex J. Mann.  You can subscribe to his blog hereand follow him on Twitter here.

Interested in becoming a teacher in Texas? Check out our page on Texas teacher certification and salary and alternative teacher certification in Texas for more information.